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Kringer places second in national musical theater competition
Thursday, May 26, 2016

Kringer places second in national musical theater competition

Jeff Kringer won a $7,000 award from The National Society of Arts and Letters at its Musical Theatre competition.

Fredonia sophomore Jeff Kringer, a Bachelor of Fine arts Musical Theatre major from Skaneateles, placed second in The National Society of Arts and Letters’ (NASL) Musical Theater competition held May 19 to 22 in Phoenix, Ariz.

The placement earned Mr. Kringer a $7,000 cash prize. He qualified for the NSAL national event by winning the regional competition held in New York City in March. His most recent leading stage role was as Professor Harold Hill in Fredonia’s Michael C. Rockefeller Arts Center’s Commencement Eve Pops event, “The Music Man in Concert.”

     Kringer (center) as Professor Harold Hill with the cast of
    "The Music Man in Concert."

The national competition held at the Phoenix Opera house began with an adjudicated dance call. Following this, Kringer was judged as he performed, “The Streets of Dublin” from the musical, “Man of No Importance,” and “If I Loved You,” from “Carousel,” as well as a monologue, “The Future is Not What it Was,” by Michael Rabe. He was contestant number 14 out of 16 from NASL chapters across the U.S. The next day, Kringer was selected as one of the top final four contestants and asked to perform two competition pieces at the event’s awards dinner, with the winners announced afterwards.

When asked how his Fredonia experience impacted his ability to perform at such a high level, Kringer said, “At Fredonia I was given the tools required to perform authentically and honestly as well as display my strength in instincts to set myself apart from other performers. My classes and professors value vulnerability and full commitment which I found to be what gave me the most confidence. I firmly believe the judges responded well because they could tell I love what I do, and have been taught to do it for no other reason than that.”

To prepare for the national finals, Kringer worked on the songs with his Fredonia voice professor, Daniel Ihasz of the School of Music, and accompanist and recent Fredonia B.F.A. graduate, Steven Saelzler, to perfect his singing and acting choices. He performed the package of selections for one of his professors from the Department of Theatre and Dance, Ted Sharon, who gave him critical feedback. Professor Sharon, in fact, was the faculty member who had urged him to participate in the NASL competition. Kringer also performed “The Streets of Dublin” and monologue at his recent sophomore departmental barrier exam at the end of the spring semester in order to get additional feedback.

When the semester ended, Kringer returned to home to continue working on the selections with his local voice teacher, Bill Daugherty, and local accompanist, Anna Egert.

At Fredonia, Kringer has performed in several Department of Theatre and Dance Walter Gloor Mainstage Series productions, including “It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play,” “HAIR: The Tribal Love-Rock Musical,” and “The Laramie Project/The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later.” His other credits at Fredonia include Jay Gatsby in Venture Production’s “The Great Gatsby,” presented by the Daniel A. Reed Library in cooperation with the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System and the National Endowment for the Arts as the 2015 Big Read; and Jeff in “Suburbia” and Jerry Goss in “Bug,” both with the student-run Performing Arts Company.

Regionally, he has performed with The Finger Lakes Musical Theater Festival, Auburn Players, Skaneateles Summer Theatre and the Syracuse Shakespeare Festival.

This summer, he will be at Rehoboth Beach in Delaware performing in the company of Clear Space Theater as Billy Flynn in “Chicago,” Tick in “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” and the Big Bad Wolf and Lord Farquaad in “Shrek: The Musical.”

Kringer is the middle son of Janet and Michael Kringer of Skaneateles.

Founded in 1944, The National Society of Arts and Letters is a non-profit organization designed to assist “promising young artists” through competitions with financial assistance, master classes, mentoring and career opportunities.

Its competitions are designed to offer exposure for young artists who want to be heard and seen by professional critics, managers, producers, teachers, the media and patrons of the arts.

Over the years, the NSAL has discovered stars such as actress/dancer/writer Shirley MacLaine, opera singer Jessye Norman, Broadway and television star Megan Hilty, pianist Awadagin Pratt and prima ballerina Amanda McKerrow.

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